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Virginia 12, Us 10, Obama 7, Mitt Romney 6, Libya 5, Chris Christie 4, Larry Sabato 4, Nevada 3, Florida 3, Ohio 3, North Carolina 3, Washington 3, Schieffer 3, Bob Shrum 3, Newt Gingrich 3, Bob 3, Romney 2, Colorado 2, North Dakota 2, United States 2,
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  CBS    Face the Nation    News/Business. News interviews with distinguished  
   national and foreign figures. New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 30, 2012
    8:30 - 9:00am PDT  

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>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," chris christie and newt gingrich with the problems on romney. president piled on, turning his own gaffes into laugh lines. >> i want to see us export more jobs. export more products. excuse me. ( laughter ) i was-- i-- i was channeling my opponent there for a second. ( laughter ) >> schieffer: and advice and constellations. >> there are 40 days left until the election. obama cowl make a gaffe. mitt would win the debates, go could send a flood to destroy all mankind. ( laughter ) so there's hope. >> schieffer: short of building an ark, what is romney's best chance. we'll ask new jersey governor chris christie, and one-time
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adversary, newt gingrich. so far romney is sticking to a familiar theme, but does he need to do more? >> i will lower the tax rate. he wants to creat to raise them. i'll create jobs and he'll kill them. also marsha blackburn, bob shrum, and larry sabato from the university of virginia center for politics. as we head into first presidential debate, we'll talk about the state of america at home and abroad with the distinguished panel. michelle rhee, former head of the washington, d.c. school system and founder of students first. economist mark zandi of moody analytics. bob woodward, author of "the price of politics" and hendrick smith, author of the new book "who stole the american dream?." it's all ahead on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs
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from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> schieffer: and we welcome now to the broadcast new jersey governor chris christie. governor, thank you for being here. governor i have to start off by saying i don't hear very many republicans these days who think mitt romney is doing very well. what's your take here? >> well, he's had a tough couple of weeks. let's be honest. i'm not going to sit here and come on this morning and sugar coat the last couple of weeks. they've been tough. but here's the great news for republicans -- we have a candidate who is going to do extraordinarily well on wednesday night. the first time he has the opportunity to stand on the same stage with the president of the youth, and the first time the majority of the people who will vote in this race will have an opportunity to make the direct comparison and see the two of them. when they do, i've seen mitt romney do this before. he's going to come inned with night. he's going to lay outs had vision for america. he's going to contrast what his view is and the president's record and the presidenta view for the future and this whole race is going to be turned
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upside down come thursday morning. >> schieffer: if he's had such a hard time so far, why suddenly will it be a whole different deal? >> because i think it is a whole different deal. what he's going to be doing wednesday night is not going to be filtered by anyone. it's not going to be spun by anybody or filtered by anybody. the american people are going to get 90 minutes to look these two men right in their eyes in their living room and make their judgment. their vision for the future, their experience and the record and be able to say who do we trust the most to be the president of the united states during these incredibly challenging times? i've watched mitt romney do this, and so have you, bob, every time he was back into a corner in the primaries he came ow with a great debate performance because that's where he shines. and he's going to do a great job on wednesday night. >> schieffer: governor, i certainly take your point, and i respect your opinion, but talking about being spun and so for example. it seems to me most of the problems governor romney's had thus far he has created for himself.
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for example, this tape where he said he's just basically writing off 47% of the electorate that was not the campaign. the governor himself said that was me. has that's thing-- is that thing really hurt him? >> you know, bob, i just don't think so. i really don't. i don't think a majority of the american people are focusing on that. here's what i think the american people and the voters are much smarter about than we give them credit for. they know political candidates at time, when they're being taped every minute of the day are going to say thing inartfully. let's face it, this president of the united states said when he was running four years ago that he was campaigning in all 57 state. do any of us really believe the president doesn't know we only have 50 states? does that mean he's not smart? come on. that's ridiculous. he misspoke. and i think what governor romney did was inelegantly say something. what he believes is everybody in america should have skin in the game. everybody in the america has to be part of a shared sacrifice to create opportunity for greatness
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again for our people and our country. and he's going to convey that message on wednesday night clearly and directly to the american people. and i'm telling you, bob, thursday morning you're all going to be scratching your heads and saying, "wow, we have a barn burner for the next 33 days." >> schieffer: it's certainly going to come as a surprise to a lot of republicans, as you well know, if that is the case, because some of the leading voices, people like bill kristol, of the "weekly standard" and peggy noonan from the "wall street journal" and billy kristol said the 47% thing was stupid. peggy noon nan said it more elegantly, but she said same thing. when you talk to some of these republicans when they don't use their names, they're even more critical thus far. >> of course they are when you don't use their names. everybody is critical in washington when they don't use their names, right, bob. i have great respect for peggy
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and everybody who is critical. it's their job to be critical. as i said to you, the campaign hasn't had a good two weeks. the bottom line is it changes on wednesday night. listen, i believe in governor romney. i believe in him as a >> this is a closed captioning test. >> this is only a test. please stand by. l polls here say 65% of the seniors in florida don't want to change medicare. 59% in ohio. 56% in virginia. did the campaign make a mistake by going off in this direction? i think most people know you've got to reform medicare, but they don't seem to be taking-- seniors don't seem to be taking very well what mitt romney and paul ryan want to do about it. >> well, the first-- the first bit of good news is that mitt
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romney and paul ryan are not going to change medicare for those seniors. they're going to change medicare for folks like me, who just turned 50, and younger, who are going to need to know that if you want to have any semblance of medicare, you're going to have to make some changes to it. here's the dirty little secret, bob-- the president of the united states knows that, too, but he's not talkin talking abo. he's not being honest with the american people about it. in the end, i think the american people, if we lay out our vision well, will reward us for tell truth. and the president right now is avoiding the truth the way he's avoided so many hard truths over the last four years. >> schieffer: governor, if mitt romney does not win, are you going to run for president in 2016? >> mitt romney's gonna win, so it's a question that-- know, i don't need to address. i hope in 2016 to be work hard for mitt romney's reelection as president of the united states. and any conversation about anything else is going to turn out not to be necessary because mitt romney is going to be
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elected president november 6. >> schieffer: governor, it's always fun to have you. thanks for joining us this morning. >> bob, thank you for having me this morning. it's great to be with you. >> schieffer: from chris christie we turn to former house speaker newt gingrich. i guess i should ask you, are you going to run in 2016 if mitt romney doesn't win? >> i agree, i think we're all going to be supporting romney's reelection. >> schieffer: i heard you, mr. speaker, this week on television-- i think i heard you correctly say that mitt romney is whistling past the graveyard unless he does well in these debates. is it that bad for him? >> look, it's always that bad. the three great incumbent disasters were the carter-ford debates, the reagan-carter debates, and then clinton-george h.w. bush debates . and three times you saw the challenger take on the incumbent and win, the debates really mattered. the places where you saw the incumbent do well, for reagan versus mondale, i would argue carter versus dole, or bush
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versus kerry, the incumbent won. so the-- i think debates matter psychologically to the country. they're the most viewed single event in the campaign. and i think it's always a burden on the challenger-- this isn't about romney. it's about the challenger. the challenger has to make two cases. the incumbent should not be re-elected, and i would do a better job. it's a two-part. you first have to make sure people say, "yeah, obama's stagnation is unacceptable. " but then you have to say, "by the way, this guy will be better." romney, he doesn't have to hit a home run, but romney has to be at the end of the debate wednesday night, a clear alternative who is considered as a potelepresident by a majority-- potential president by the maiority of american people in order for his campaign to have a chance to win. >> schieffer: is that another way to say if he doesn't win these debates if he doesn't win these debates? >> no challenger can become president if they don't stabbed up against the incumbent president. this was true with carter and ford, and ford made a mistake and cost him deerly.
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it was true with carter against reagan, reagan stood up to it. and it was true for george h.w. bush. he had a moment to knock out bill clinton and he didn't. >> schieffer: this debate will be about domestic affairs. i want to ask you something about the foreign policy front. the administration has basic plea changed its account of what happened in libya, where our u.s. ambassador was killed. they said, susan rice said on this broadcast last sunday, after the president of libya said this was the work of terrorists, she said, no, this was because of a spontaneous demonstration that had to do with that film. now they have come around to saying, well, yes, it was a terrorist attack. is mitt romney making enough of this? i haven't heard too much from him on that. >> bob, what struck me-- and i have nope the director of national intelligence for years. he's a bright man. he's a competent man. this administration in effect is now saying, "oh, don't blame the
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united nations ambassador. don't blame the white house spokesman. don't blame the president, because our intelligence system failed so decisively." i don't know which worries me more, the idea that the intelligence system took weeks to figure out the obvious-- although we are told in fact they had information the day before the attack because the video that went out from al qaeda asking that the ambassador-- somebody be killed on 9/11 was a day earlier. so i don't know whether i feel more comfortable knowing the administration was incompetent and lie the to us or i feel more comfortable knowing the intelligence community was totally out of touch. my hunch is the intelligence community was not out of touch. the ambassador's own diary, apparently indicates he was worried about being targeted for death. you have to ask yourself-- this-- the congress should be holding hearings right now. how could an ambassador be in benghazi, the hot bed of anti-american sentiment in libya, "how could he be there on
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9/11 with no security? this entire incident makes no sense. and yes, i think romney should be demanding the president tells the american people the truth. >> schieffer: do you think mitt romney has to move a little more towards the center here as we come toward the election? >> i think mitt romney has to move to clarity in drawing the contrast between the two futures. there is a obama stagnation future. we had information this last week that we're drifting into another recession, which to go into a recession off of 8% unemployment could easily mean you end up with 12% or 13% unemployment. and yet, all sort of indicators-- there was a very compelling economic analysis that we're drifting into another recession because of obama. there has to be a contrast between a romney recovery and obama stagnation, and frankly it's not right or left. it's common sense getting the country back to work, having an american energy policy. north dakota has 2.7%
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unemployment. the governor of north dakota has a billion-dollar rainy day fund and they've had three tax cuts in a row. now romney should be focusing on that kind of big choice, and it's not really right or left so much as it is common sense versus fuzzy ideas they don't work. >> schieffer: they've also discovered oil out there. but i'll ask you about that in a little bit. we'll be back in one minute with a little analysis of this.
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middle here. where do you think the race stands right now? >> bob, i think the president is ahead. at my crystal ball station we have him at 290 electoral votes but some of those states are just barely leaning to him, like my native virginia. obama is ahead two or three points. the polls have him up higher than that, but i don't think he's really there. >> schieffer: ar let me just go to our map of the battled ground states here, nevada, new hampshire, north carolina, ohio, virginia, florida, iowa, wisconsin and colorado. i think most of the polls suggest now that the president is at least slightly ahead in all of these states, except possibly north carolina. cbs news is now calling ohio in fact leaning, leaning to the president not a toss-up state. does that sound about right to you? >> that sounds about right. i actually think north carolina is probably leaning to romney, despite some recent polls to the contrary. to be honest i think the three toss-ups where he has the best
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shot are florida, new hampshire, and particularly colorado. but in all of those other toss-upes, like wisconsin, nevada, ohio, virginia, you're seeing at least at this point a trend to obama. but, bob, i would just caution, the fundamentals of this election call for a close election. really think the election is going to tighten. ypresident obama is ahead, and probably has the best chance to win but this is going to be a tighter race than the polls show right now. >> schieffer: marsha blackburn, every poll seems to suggest that when it comes to women voters, mitt romney just doesn't do very well. i mean, he's up, i think now in ohio, is it 25 points among women. why do you think that is is it. >> i think there's a couple of things there. number one, i think most women are independent voters. and they're waiting to see some specifics. and as i've been in nevada and north carolina and virginia and different states, what i hear from women is they want jobs in
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the economy is issue number one. they want specifics. thiept ton what is going to be done to repeal, replace obamacare. make that workable. they're looking for detail. and i think a lot of the undecides are there and that female vote is very soft. and larry i think you're seeing that in your polling, too. it's very movable and as we get into the debatees, as people react-- women are appalled with what happened in libya. and i think they're looking for some accountability. they want to see a serious-- >> schieffer: what you're saying is mitt romney is not specific enough. he needs to give us some more details on what he plans to do. >> i think you're going to see that come forward in the debates and over the next couple of weeks, and he has started to roll out some of the specifics and that's what women are wanting to see. >> schieffer: bob shrum, you were an adviser to john kerry. you were an adviser way back when ted kennedy, i guess, debated mitt romney in that now-famous senate race of long
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ago. what would you be telling barack obama if you were vising him about these upcoming debates? >> i would tell him first he has to understand that romney can win this debate if he's scripted, prepared, has really worked at it. if you watched him on "60 minutes" last sunday, he was smooth, he was clear, he was succinct. he was different than he has been. he has to be careful not to be spontaneous because when he is, he gets himself in trouble. i think they are on a search for zingers and one-liners because romney was cover-upped by kennedy. they have to be careful because the president could have a comeback. i think what you do in the debate preps you try to game out what the other side is going to say and then you try to see how you can respond. it's always strongest when it's a comeback. zenners don't work as a cute line. they work as part of the fabric of argument. in 1980, they knew jimmy carter was going to look at ronald reagan and say, "you were
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against medicare" at the beginning, happened to be true. but reagan looked at him, shook his head and said, "there you go again." it was really a comment not just on that medicare answer but on everything that carter had said. that's when a zinger works. >> schieffer: what do you think the obama people think they're going to hear from romney? >> one thing that's being telegraphed by the romney folks -- and i wouldn't have telegraphed it if this was a question i wanted to ask-- do you want another four years like the last four years. the president has heard that-- >> that's a question people ask. >> i know, but ronald reagan was smart enough not to say are you better off today than you were four years ago until he got to the debate. the president knows that question is going to be asked and he will be prepared to answer it. five of the last six times an incumbent debated a challenger in a debate, the challenger won. >> that's the question they are asking. they know they are not better off from four years ago.
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insurance costs have gone up, the price of a gallon of gas has gone up. groceries have gone up. people know that they are not better off than they were. >> then why has romney moved off that question? he's not asking can that question anymore. he's asking another question, "do you want another four years for the last four years?" i think there are good answers, but four years ago this countrys of on the abyss of a depression. we're not today and there's a reason why in all this polling data, the president, who should be behind on who can handle the economy is now either tied or ahead. people are not dumb. they don't think barack obama created these circumstances. >> people know the stimulus and all of this out-of-control spending increasing the federal debt by 50% has not helped them. it has-- >> these are just republican talking points and i don't think they're going anywhere with people. >> no they're not. >> then why is romney behind on who can handle the economy? >> schieffer: we're going to give marsha blackburn a chance to answer that question. we'll be back to larry sabato, too, when we come back in just a minute. [ horn honks ]
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let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. >> schieffer: and we're back now with our panel, larry sabato. i want to come back to you. how important do you think this debate is going to be, this first one? >> it's critical to mitt romney. he really does have to show his stuff there, and he has to-- he has to change his emage. he has the image of a kru club republican. he has to go after president obama in a coherent way with a real message. but, you know, history tells me, bob, that generally speaking, the challenger does gain from the first debate. it will be a surprise if he doesn't gain. and he very much needs to. he needs to get some momentum. based on history, i would say the odds favor mitt romney in the first debate. >> schieffer: let me ask you about your home state, virginia. your center is headquartered at
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u.v.a. what's happening there? is this going to come down to virginia? a lot of people think it might. >> well, it could. obviously, it would have to be very close to come down to virginia with 13 electoral vote. i'll tell you, it's caused me to question some of the polls because based on everything i know about verg, everything i've seen, i think the real margin is actually quite close. i would give president obama spotting two or three points. you know, he u he won by 60s lat time in virginia. think of the conditions in the country, it's almost impossible to imagine him winning by the same margin in virginia or nationally. my projection is he gets considerably fewer electoral votes than last time. he got 365. i'll be surprised if he gets above 320 or so, maximum, under the best conditions. in terms of the popular vote, he got 53% for ideal conditions for a democrat. this time around, to me it's more like 2004 a 51-48 election, something like that.
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>> schieffer: i'm going to close with you two. what would each of you say to the people on your side right now? and i'll go with you first, marsha blackburn. >> well, i think looking at some of the ways the polls are weighted, that is why you're seeing the polling like it is. i do think it is going to be very close. i hope romney does a solid performance on wednesday night. i don't look for anything that's going to be huge home runs. i think he will do well. jobes, the economy, this out-of-control issue with libya, the national security, people are watching that. 43 months of above 8% unemployment. i think it is very difficult for the president. i think these states are going to be very close. and my hope is that we're going to push forward with the win. >> don't be over-confident. go out there ask work very hard. i agree this is going to be a close election. it could brea break open. if romney doesn't do well wednesday night this election
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could break open. i think it goes beyond issues and the alienation of people medicare issues and things like that. a republican friend of mine publicly says the fundamental problem isn't that people don't like him, it's that people think romney doesn't like them. that comes from the 47% tape. it comes from a number of other incidents. so in this debate he has somehow or other got to make people sense he feels and understands what they're going through. and that can't be by telling his life story. that has to be by relating to them in a way that seems authentic. so far he hasn't been able to do that but he has been practicing and very well may. >> schieffer: thanks to all three of you. very enlightening, and we'll be right back. ♪ it means cleaner, cheaper american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe.
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dan hurd: when i was a child, california was a leader in education funding. erika derry: and the fact that california isn't making it a priority frustrates me. dan hurd: i'm ashamed of that, and i don't want this to continue for my daughter. brenda kealing: prop 38 is going to bring a lot of money to our schools. suzan solomon: the money stays at the school site. cade derry: what i would really like to see is that the teachers... that were laid off come back to the school. navaz hurd: a smaller class size. navaz hurd: as a mom i want that. as a teacher i want that. prop 38 is an opportunity of a generation.